Child Abandonment / Endangerment

The crime of child abandonment or endangerment is a serious that carries heavy penalties. A conviction for child abandonment can result in felony charges that can lead to steep fines, possible incarceration, and a criminal record.

According to Texas Family Code § 261.101, it is a crime not to report alleged child abandonment or endangerment. In some cases, a person may report child abandonment or endangerment out of fear of criminal charges. In other circumstances, third parties may report child abandonment without understanding the full story. However, just because you are charged doesn’t mean you are convicted.

If you or someone you know has been charged with child abandonment or endangerment, it is in your best interest to obtain trusted legal representation.

San Antonio Attorneys for Child Abandonment in Texas

Are you currently being investigated for child abandonment or endangerment in the Bexar County area? Exercise your right to remain silent with law enforcement or Child Protective Services (CPS). You must protect your rights and your ability to be a parent or caretaker. Contact an domestic violence attorney at Flanary Law Firm, PLLC today. 

Flanary Law Firm, PLLC is a team of experienced criminal defense attorneys. We love what we do, and are passionate about defending those with criminal allegations. Our attorneys understand how stressful child abuse allegations can be. Do not face this alone. Contact the attorneys at (210) 738-8383 for a free consultation.

Our attorneys practice law throughout the Bexar County area and adjoining counties including Kerr County, Comal County, Wilson County, Bandera County, Medina County, and Atascosa County.

Overview for Child Abandonment or Endangerment in Texas


Elements for Child Abandonment or Endangerment in Texas

There are two ways a person can be charged with child abandonment or endangerment. Texas Penal Code § 22.041 states that a person commits child abandonment if he or she has custody, care, or control of a child younger than the age of 15 years old and does the following:

  • Intentionally abandons the child in any place; and
  • Exposes the child to an unreasonable risk of harm. 

Texas law defines the term “abandon” as leaving a child in any place without providing reasonable and necessary care for the child. The child must be left in a situation in were no reasonable adult would leave a child of that age and ability.

There is another way a person can be charged with child abandonment. If a person intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence, engages in conduct that places a child younger than 15 years in imminent danger of death or bodily injury. The ways a person can place a child in imminent danger includes:

  • Manufacturing, possessing, or in any way introducing into the body of any person the substance methamphetamine in the presence of a child;
  • Conduct of the person put proximity or accessibility of the controlled substance methamphetamine to the child. This includes if the analysis of the child’s blood, urine or other bodily substance indicates the presence of methamphetamine in the child’s body; or
  • The person injected, ingested, inhaled, or otherwise introduced any Penalty Group 1 controlled substance unlawfully into the human body. 

Texas Penalties for Child Abandonment or Endangerment

The penalties for child abandonment or endangerment are reliant on the circumstances of the offense. If a person intentionally abandons a child with intent to return, he or she will face a state jail felony.

The maximum penalties for a state jail felony include: 

  • Up to 24 months in jail; and
  • Possible fine of up to $10,000. 

If a person intentionally abandons a child without intent to return for the child, he or she will face a felony of the third degree.

The maximum penalties for a third-degree felony include: 

  • Up to 10 years in prison; and
  • Possible fine of up to $10,000.

A person who abandons a child under circumstances that would put the child in imminent danger of death, bodily injury, physical or mental impairment will face a second-degree felony.

The maximum penalties for a second-degree felony include:

  • Up to 20 years in prison; and
  • Possible fine of up to $10,000.

If a person puts a child in danger due to proximity, accessibility, ingesting, inhaling, or having the child use a Penalty Group 1 controlled substance or methamphetamines, he or she will face a state jail felony.


Additional Resources 

Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) – Visit the official website for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Find more information regarding Child Protective Services (CPS), a DFPS program that is designed to protect children through investigations about child abuse or neglect. Learn more about state laws, CPS policies, and some frequently asked questions that may be related to child abandonment or endangerment.

Texas Child Abandonment or Endangerment Laws – Visit the official website for Texas legislation and regulations. Find more information regarding child abandonment/endangerment, leaving a child in a vehicle, child abuse, and other types of child-related offenses. Learn about penalties, specifics, and admissible defenses in court.


Child Abandonment Lawyers in Bexar County Texas

If you or someone you know has been charged with child abandonment, it is crucial that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. A skilled attorney can file motions, uncover pre-trial programs, and speak to the authorities for you. Make the right decision today. Contact the attorneys at Flanary Law Firm, PLLC.

The attorneys at Flanary Law Firm, PLLC understand the ins and outs of child abuse laws in Texas. We have years of experience in representing those accused of child abandonment. Handling criminal allegations can be overwhelming. This is especially true when it comes to your child. Do not hesitate when it comes to your future as a parent or caretaker. Talk to an attorney at Flanary Law Firm, PLLC today. 

Flanary Law Firm, PLLC defends those accused of child abuse throughout the greater San Antonio area including Kirby, Terrell Hills, Windcrest, and Universal City. 

Call us at (210) 738-8383, or simply submit an online contact form for a free consultation.


This article was last updated on September 27, 2017.

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